Rugby Union: Rapid heartbeat of Australian challenge puts World Cup on hold

* Massive notes flying everywhere in Rugby World Cup repechage • The RaboDirect Pro12 decider between Montpellier and Ulster is in danger of turning into rugby’s version of Leicester vs Liverpool for WRU chief Gregory Davies. The entire Welsh Rugby Union board meets next Thursday and while the chairman insists it will be a “robust” discussion, the situation at Montpellier is threatening to get serious. Jonny May, Eddie Jones and Eddie Jones’s wife Sarah made their debuts at Montpellier’s Stade Aime Giral on Tuesday. Nemanja Matyka (left) was among the stands despite being released from World Cup camp just before kick-off. Davies said: “I’ve not seen football fans like the rugby fan in the back row. He has been huge in delivering that game, but it will get very intense in the back row tomorrow [Saturday]. He’s got a passionate status. He had my backing. He was on the plane with me.” • Gatland’s no surprise; Warren tight with Iain [Carberry] • That’s what being EDF Energy Cup champions means – Iain Carberry was the only current Wales international to show up at England’s base at IWK Brighton for another crack at lifting the trophy. He had stayed with Warren Gatland for part of the Six Nations and toured Australia with the Lions. “He’s really tight with Warren,” said Gloucester head coach Johan Ackermann. “He came to the Lions’ Christmas party at least. From a domestic point of view he went to Hong Kong a couple of times and he travelled with the Lions. “But what he actually won this week against a very strong competitive Six Nations side and beating Ireland for most part was a credit to him. He deserves to be invited. It wasn’t unexpected.” • Sarries and Sharks unaware until late last night • The South African teams heading to Murrayfield had no idea until Wednesday night that they would be playing each other on Saturday. “We have been getting calls as late as last night, who else are we playing. Even though we know the date, it was still only getting confirmed,” said Sharks coach Jake White. “We had no idea until this morning.” • Lachlan McCaffrey confident he will still be off contract next May • Skipper Lachlan McCaffrey is almost convinced that the Pro14 winners will keep him beyond his current contract which runs out at the end of next season. “I would like to think so but from being told that there is no way for us to be confident,” said the 24-year-old. “At this stage there is no way. I think the thing that has really surprised us is that the response from clubs, we have not had very many approaches for me and that has left us a little bit disappointed.” • Tryemaker Wade is ready to bounce back • There is one place in the formet that tries wizard Wade Hogg would love to regain. The Glasgow wing won a bloody nose after a clash with Ulster’s Michalak in last weekend’s semi-final and is hopeful of being fit for the encounter against Northampton Saints at Murrayfield on Saturday. “If I can play I’d love to play on Saturday, there’s no way around that,” said Hogg. “Of course I’d love to be able to have a closer relationship with the rabies logo but I just have to get through this week and if I can get through that, then hopefully that will help with the niggles and the soreness in the neck.” • Exiles star scores as All Blacks 9c go past Colts • The under-19 All Blacks produced a superb game-winning try to beat England 9-0 in the RA Under-19 Championship final in Sweden. The country’s juniors came close to clinching a World Championship in Auckland last week before losing 26-19 to Wales. For this year’s tournament, teams of players between the ages of 14 and 17 are competing against each other, with results counting towards world rankings. Lewis Skinner got the only try as the All Blacks ended England’s campaign with victory at Malmo Arena on Tuesday.

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